Bad Cover Art…Redesigned: The Darkangel

Welcome to Bad Cover Art…Redesigned! Where I bring you the most horrible of all cover art I can find on the world wide web and try to come up with an alternative (that I hope is better).

This week I bring you: The Darkangel by Meredith Anne Pierce

According to Wikipedia The Darkangel is the first of a trilogy of High Fantasy novels. It starts with a young woman being abducted by a vampyre with wings. So I guess we can say the cover is very literal!

I now bring to you The Darkangel…Redesigned.

I’ve apparently now made it into Young Adult fiction. So how did I do this? For this first post I won’t go into too much detail but let me know if you would like more in future.

For this cover I merely needed four ingredients. Photoshop CS3, the background, fonts, and a brush.

All the fonts I use can be found at They’re free but check any terms that come with the download as some require a license for uses other than personal. For this cover I used a font called ‘Sticky Things’ for the title and ‘Supernatural Knight’ for the author name.

I used a brush (the feather) and a texture (the background) from Deviantart. They can be found at the following links:

Background –

Feather –

Deviantart has a variety of resources in their ‘Resources and Stock Images’ category. I mainly use ‘Application Resources’, which give you things like Brushes and I use ‘Textures’. It’s not just for Photoshop either. They have Illustrator resources and GIMP brushes as well.

This is essentially how I pieced everything together –

Obviously in-between the steps there was a lot of fiddling and trying things different ways. For example I didn’t try flipping the texture vertically until the very end of the process. I also tried warping the background texture to shift elements about.

I also used the Blending options to put light around the font and feather. You can find this under Layer>Layer Style>Outer Glow/Inner Glow.

Finally, I do everything on separate layers. This way I can move everything around independently if I want to fiddle with the formatting. As soon as you flatten the image, your chance to change things is over. When you save a Photoshop file as a Jpeg, you instantly flatten the image.

Hopefully that was in some way useful or interesting. I look forward to bringing you more dreadful cover art and seeing what I can do with it.

In the meantime, if you come across any horrendous covers, please let me know!

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8 Responses

  1. Lauren says:

    So cool! I love your version of the cover (and it’s definitely a load better than the first!). I was wondering, though, what made you decide to go with this sort of design? It’s obviously very different from the original, and I’d love to hear more about your thought process!

  2. Stella says:

    I don’t know, I feel like instead of a feather you should have included the flying shoe from the original cover…

  3. Trident says:

    Cool, wow that looked like a lot of effort.

  4. beckiw says:

    Oh thought processes! Yes…that might’ve been a good avenue. My thought processes when photoshopping are usually quite scattered and I feel like I come across ideas mainly by accident.

    Originally when I saw the cover and the title I was thinking I’d find a stormy background or texture with a silhouette of a figure with wings. So I set about looking up stormy textures/photos and sort of accidentally found the one I used (it was featured in a sort of ‘also by this artist’ bit down the side). Then I looked through deviantart for some wing brushes and found a couple of feather brush sets and thought that maybe it would be interesting to do something with feathers rather than wings.

    I tend to browse art search engines until something leaps out at me and then once I have all the elements in place (that I think I might need) I got into photoshop and start having a play around with fonts and brushes. I put a few feathers on and then found it was too cluttered and the background was already doing a lot of work. Then I put some text on and thought a minimalist cover would be more interesting.

    Then I thought the single feather would look good and it did. Then I sat for an hour just trawling through fonts till I found one that I thought was interesting.

    So essentially a lot of it is just…happy accident or trial and error. I sort of wait till something clicks.

    Not a precise art at all! lol

  5. Hannah says:

    Oh my gosh, I loved the original cover. It feels like those older sci-fi covers. ;o; I have a soft spot for them. Poor bby.

  6. Twit says:

    The original reminds me of my Stephen King books which all have old horrifically sensational covers. I do kind of like them, though, because they’re so unsubtle.

  7. PenguinAttack says:

    I think that because it is that old school sci-fi feel (which I love, for certain) it did need to change. The current trend in book covers is minimalism and strong lines, I think. The nature of stark covers means you only look at the key elements and it’s meant to draw you and make you curious all at once.

    I think the changed cover almost does this. There is the definite feel of the young adult genre through the soft hands, and the lower case title. It is an interesting change in visual audience, I love seeing the process.

    I would like to know more about why you think it works in your posts though, if you get around to it. 🙂

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